The Buzz

News, tips, and tidbits to keep you in the loop.

Stories Robyn Griggs Lawrence, Christine Lavosky, Caitlin Moakley, Emilie-Noelle Provost, Doug Schnitzspahn and Stephanie Wilson
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Stories
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  • Sofar Sounds is redefining the concert experience. Read
  • Kombucha is that increasingly popular drink that owes its probiotic properties and tangy taste to a mother fungus Read
  • Sira Naturals founder says cultural stigma is preventing the cannabis industry from exploding in Massachusetts. Read
  • What Matters This Month Read
  • You’ve heard of Massholes. Here are their donuts. Read

Pop-up Rock

Sofar Sounds is redefining the concert experience.

In creating a more spontaneous experience for concert-goers, Sofar Sounds is redesigning the traditional concert model—and it’s bringing this revolution to Boston. 

Keeping show lineups and locations secret until a few days before an event creates a sense of mystery and intrigue for concert-goers. The organization, which operates in 400 cities worldwide, offers lesser-known musicians a chance to go on tour and gives music lovers opportunities to listen to music outside of their usual genres and discover emerging musicians they may never have stumbled upon otherwise.

Sofar shows are set in unconventional locations, including art galleries, apartments, hotel rooms, and office spaces. A recent show was staged at Vibram, a shoe store and office space in Brookline. Audience members sat on the floor, some on blankets they brought from home, underneath glowing “flying shoe” decor strung from the ceiling. Like all Sofar’s shows, this one had an intimate vibe.

Sofar’s nonhierarchical lineups feature three bands playing four or five songs each. There are no openers or main acts, encouraging equal appreciation for all the artists. Charlotte Jacobs, an experimental pop band from Belgium, started off the night at Vibram, weaving an abstract, experimental quality into dreamy pop melodies through vocals and synthesized beats. Nick Anderson and the Skinny Lovers, an alternative rock band on its first-ever tour, and Visiting Wine, a lively five-part folk rock group that infuses its smooth harmonies with Southern stomp and holler, rounded out an evening of energetic chemistry. 

Sofar Sounds / sofarsounds.com/boston


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Strange Brew

Kombucha is that increasingly popular drink that owes its probiotic properties and tangy taste to a mother fungus. Beer is, well, you know. Kombucha can contain small amounts of alcohol due to fermentation and also mixes well into a cocktail. Unity Vibration has taken the pairing one step further with its kombucha beers. 

Each brew combines the healthy tonic with organic hops and fruit flavors like ginger, peach, and elderberry to create a concoction that’s easy to sip. Just be prepared: it packs a whopping 8 to 9.1 percent ABV. The bourbon peach is the beer snob’s favorite, and the raspberry is a crowd pleaser.

Unity Vibration / unityvibrationkombucha.com


NIMBY Warrior

Sira Naturals founder says cultural stigma is preventing the cannabis industry from exploding in Massachusetts. 

When Michael Dundas launched his Cambridge-based company, Sira Naturals (formerly Sage Naturals), shortly after medical cannabis was legalized in 2013, he was confronted with challenges entrepreneurs in other industries don’t typically face. Because Massachusetts requires medical-use cannabis dispensaries to operate as nonprofits, he had no value-added collateral or equity opportunity to offer investors. In addition, his business was required to be vertically integrated, meaning Sira Naturals had to grow and produce everything it sold.

With adult-use legalization in 2017, medical dispensaries were allowed to convert to for-profit status, allowing access to equity financing. But Dundas, who converted Sira Naturals to a corporation before selling the company to Toronto-based Cannabis Strategies Acquisition in 2019, says Massachusetts can still be a tough place for cannabis companies to do business. 

“Elected officials in many municipalities have had a ‘not in my backyard’ mentality due to the cultural stigma that cannabis has,” Dundas says. “When you add to that all the regulations and licensing required, negotiating host-community agreements, and financing still being somewhat difficult to get [because cannabis remains illegal on the federal level], it can be a hard environment to navigate.”

Still, Dundas sees enormous possibility for growth in the state’s cannabis industry. “It’s just a question of time,” he says. “Although municipalities have been slow to appreciate the economic potential, the market in Massachusetts is huge.”


Sensibilities

What Matters This Month by Stephanie Wilson

1. Goals are the new resolutions. And since we’re in a new decade, let’s set loftier targets, hit them, surpass them. Where do you want to be in 2025? 2030? Start manifesting the life you want. In the shorter term, however…

2. Manifest the outfits you want by signing up for Nuuly clothing rental from Free People’s parent co. For just $88/mo., you get six temporary additions to your wardrobe—perfect excuse to try out new trends.

3. Be extra extra. I resolved to be just that at the start of last year. Met that goal and have a photo of the statement jacket I borrowed from Nuuly as proof. See @stephwilll if you’re curious just how extra “extra extra” is.

4. See Also: posts about my apartment/urban jungle.

5. Putting it out there now. I’m setting my first intention for 2020: I will get my place featured on Apartment Therapy as a home tour this year. Boom.

6. Wanna be my goal buddy? DM or post a comment—we’ll start a club. One with books and discussions involved. Community and knowledge will result. We’ll call it…The Book Club. Let’s do this.


Dunk This

You’ve heard of Massholes. Here are their donuts. 

One of the newest additions to the Arlington neighborhood is the best little donut shop around.

This place sells nothing but donut holes—and with flavors like Boston Banana Cream (a brioche donut with Earl Grey–infused banana cream and milk chocolate ganache), New-berry Street (a chocolate cake donut with vanilla bean glaze, Nutella, and fresh blackberries), and Green Monster (a brioche donut filled with key lime curd and glazed in green-tea white chocolate), it’s a perfect spot for visitors to get a taste of Boston and a yummy treat for locals too.

Stock up on these cute confections for your next party or simply snack on them at the Lake Street shop. 

@massholedonuts / massholedonuts.com

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